As part of my school program this year I've been given the opportunity to go on an outreach next March. There were seven options. One stood out: Australia.
I’ve been dreaming of going there for years, much more of late. Aussie slang, coffee culture, beaches, the beautiful cities. The thought of being down under grabs me. Let's just ignore for a moment their weather patterns sometimes include raining spiders.
So it was encouraging when someone at school told me they felt God was sending me to the ends of the earth and that it might apply to the school’s outreach. For a Brit, it doesn't get much further off the ends of the earth than Australia. The mere possibility of a dream coming true had me excited. I know the Psalms say, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Yesterday I shared this with someone close to me. He told me about a missionary who had recently tried to raise support. An evening was held. Stories told, pictures shared. How much money was raised for their amazing cause? None. This story knocked the wind out of me. They explained they weren't intending to discourage, just wanting me to be realistic about how much people would give. Despite this they assured me they were behind me. We both agreed God is a master of the impossible.
I still felt discouraged. I was trying to dream a little. But Australia was a really expensive option. So this morning at the 8.30am church service I spoke to God about it during a moment in worship. A really simple prayer…
“I know I can believe you for this by faith. But would you give me some encouragement?”
I felt vulnerable asking that. But, in a way that’s hard to explain, I knew he was listening.
I stepped out the room to make a call to my friend Ash in England. We had arranged a chat for 9am. I dialled his number and the phone rang. No answer. A moment later a text came through…
"…is this you?"
Along with his text Ash sent a screenshot of his phone’s display of an incoming call. There was a number. But underneath that number was a single word, the caller location: "Australia."
I can't make this stuff up. This, in fact, was my number and my phone call. The number had come across to him without a US dialling code (+1) and his phone registered the first digits as the country of origin. The Aussie dialling code starts with +61. My US phone number (without a US dialling code) starts with a local area code of 61.
His phone had “intelligently” parsed my number as coming from an Australian origin. Australia was calling.
This was within 10 minutes of my prayer. We could chalk this up to coincidence. We really could. Sure, it's insane timing. But I think there's something else going on here.